5935 State Road 44
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Recently redesigned and improved Extreme Drums Triggers are more sensitive and more durable than ever before, giving you greater performance, both now and for years to come. Now you can have the most sensitive drum triggers available today ... along with all cables needed to hook them up to any drum module you choose.
You can quickly and safely install Extreme Drums Triggers inside your drums in just minutes per drum.
And our Custom-Built Triggers come supplied with all the connecting cables you need to connect your drums to your drum module or trigger-to-MIDI converter. We will also be available, both before and after the sale to help answer any questions you may have about converting your church drums.
30-Day Satisfaction or Money-Back Guarantee, plus a 5-Year Repair or Replacement Warranty.
Order your Extreme Drums Triggers today and turn your drums into the best feeling and best responding electronic drums you've ever played.
Lots of people contact us with all kinds of questions about electronic drumming. And the ones we get the most are about mesh drum heads, electronic cymbals, and drum modules. One common question that we get is whether or not we sell them. The answer is, "No we don’t." We only sell our Extreme Drum Triggers. But I can offer you advise on each of these topics based on my personal experiences and discoveries.
First let’s talk about mesh heads. When I started building triggers for acoustic drums there was only one brand of mesh heads to choose from that offered multiple sizes for standard drums. Roland had been selling 10” and 12” V-Drum mesh heads for a couple years. But Pearl was the first company that began offering mesh heads in multiple sizes. Now, more than 15 years later there are several varieties of mesh heads out there to choose from. Some work well and others are just so-so. I try to test out as many as I can to see what works best for me and ultimately what to recommend for our customers. Mesh heads that accurately reproduce my performance is crucial to me because I play with a variety of styles and a wide range of dynamics. My triggers and the mesh heads I use have to be up to the challenge. After personally using most of the mesh heads available over the last several years here are my recommendations:
If you are a light to moderate player you could use Pearl MFH mesh heads. They also are called Pearl Muffle Heads. They are black single ply mesh heads and come in sizes 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 20, and 22 inches. They give you great sensitivity and are very inexpensive, ranging from $6.00 for an 8” head to $22.00 for a 22” head. The only drawbacks to Pearl's mesh heads are that they tend to stretch out over time and may break if you are a heavy hitter or if you have a drumstick that is splintered. But at their low cost you can more easily replace them often if necessary.
Another brand of black single-ply heads that you might use if you can find them are Percussion Plus mesh heads. They are almost identical to Pearl MFH heads.
Remo has also gotten in the ring with white single-ply mesh heads. They are called Remo Silentstroke mesh heads and cost a little more than Pearl heads. They have the same sizes of the Pearl heads ... plus, they have an 18" floor tom head and a 24” bass drum head. Their prices range from $12.00 for an 8" head to around $38.00 for a 24" head.
If you live Europe you could buy T Drum Triggerheads instead of Pearl or Remo mesh heads. Several outlets throughout Europe sell them. They are black single ply heads like the Pearl MFH heads and are very sensitive as well as cost effective. Howevwer, like the Pearl heads, they tend to stretch out over time and may break sooner than many other brands of mesh heads.
If you are a hard hitter I recommend Billy Blast Drums "Ballistech 2" Mesh Heads. They are 3-ply mesh heads that are surprisingly sensitive with a response that is comparable to the Pearl or Remo single ply heads. But the Biallistech 2 heads are much more durable and will last much longer without stretching out. So if you play hard you should consider the Ballistech 2 heads, at least on your snare drum, but possibly on your toms and bass drum too. Just be sure to keep them real tight on your snare and toms for the best results. Looser on your bass drum is okay. The Billy Blast Ballistech 2 mesh heads come in sizes 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22 inches. Prices start at $15.00 for the 8” heads and increase $5 with each size increase, making a 22” Ballistech 2 head $55.00. You can get them from Bill Blast Drums website. I only recommend their 3-ply Ballistech 2 mesh heads, not the other styles, so be sure you're ordering the right ones.
If you live in Europe you may want to use Z-ED Mesh heads or 682Drum double ply mesh heads instead of Billy Blast heads.
Drumsticks … when playing on mesh heads you need to be careful not to play with a broken of splintered drumstick. A sharp drumstick can easily cut through the mesh head. For this reason it is best to use nylon tipped sticks on your converted drums. The nylon will not splinter or split and will offer greater protection for your mesh heads.
Electronic cymbals and cymbal samples have come a long way in the last several years but they are still the weakest link in electronic drumming. So if you can still use your regular cymbals with your converted drums then do so. It will save you some money and maybe some frustration too. But if you need quieter cymbals for home practice or for playing in small places where real cymbals would be too loud then you will need to use electronic cymbals.
There are lots of brands and styles of e-cymbals to choose from these days. Some of them look like regular acoustic brass cymbals; others are the typical rubber and plastic e-cymbals that several companies sell. The performances of the different brands of e-cymbals are similar to one another and yet they can also be drastically different from one another.
After trying out and using several styles and brands here are my findings and recommendations:
First of all, the major electronic drum companies like Roland, Yamaha, Alesis, have designed their e-cymbals to work best with their own drum modules, especially when using three zone ride cymbals. For instance, a Yamaha 3-zone cymbal works great with a Yamaha module but a Roland 3-zone cymbal doesn’t work very well at all with a Yamaha module. The reverse is also true; a Roland 3-zone cymbal works great with Roland modules that are equipped for them but a Yamaha 3-zone cymbal will only give you two zones at best with the Roland modules, and the zones may be reversed. For instance, the bell sound may come from the edge instead of the bell. Alesis also has a 3-zone ride designed to work flawlessly with the newer Alesis modules, but if you try to use one with another module it will be disappointing and at best and at worst it will not work for you at all.
So my suggestion is if you want to use a 3-zone ride cymbal use one that is designed specifically for your drum module. However, most 2-zone cymbals will work with most modules, but not in all cases. Therefore, I still recommend using cymbals designed for the brand’s module. The exception to this is Roland two zone cymbals. They work well with most all drum modules and they also have choke capabilities if your module supports this feature. One of the great things about the Roland 2-zone e-cymbals is that you get one sound from playing on the main part of the cymbal (the bow) and another sound from hitting the edge. Plus the edge trigger zone doubles as a choke when you grab it. But again, your module has to support these features; the cymbal input you’re plugging it into has to be dual trigger capable and choke-able.
A Yamaha 3-zone cymbal will also work with Roland modules as a 2-zone cymbal with choke capabilities on the edge.
On the low-cost end are cymbals like Pintech Trigger Cymbals. They are single zone cymbals that are basically the older style Pintech plastic practice cymbals with a sensor on the bottom and a little bit of rubber covering the playing surface on top. They have sizes of 10”, 14”, 16”, and 18” and cost around $35.00 for a 10” cymbal and less than $60.00 for an 18” cymbal. They are okay for those on a very tight budget, who are willing to settle for single zone cymbals without a choke.
Brass e-cymbals come in a few different brand names ... Pearl E-Classic cymbals, Alesis Surge cymbals, Smartrigger cymbals, Hart Dynamics E-CYMBALS, and ASL (Atlas Sound Lab) Revolution cymbals. The brass-metal cymbals have a lot of similarities. They use a muffled brass alloy metal with the unwanted cymbal overtones muted by a plastic or rubber coating applied on the underside or a rubber pad attached on top. This coating or rubber deadens the ringing and overtones of the cymbals and muffles the overall sound drastically so that you hear a dull ping or a soft “clunk” sound when playing or hitting them.
Brass e-cymbals come in single zones, with or without a mute or choke strip on the edge, and dual zone cymbals, with or without the choke strip on the edge. However, unlike Roland or Yamaha cymbals, you cannot trigger another sound source from the choke strip. It is strictly a mute or choke. It is like an on-off switch. When you grab the choke strip on the edge it turns the sound off in the module and mutes the sound.
All the brass e-cymbals look good and perform okay as crash cymbals. But as ride or hi hat cymbals you won’t get very good response unless you are playing directly directly over the sensor, which is the sweet spot of these e-cymbals. Therefore you will need to know where the sensor is on the underside of the cymbal to know exactly where to play. If you use any of these brass e-cymbals I suggest you limit them to be used as crash cymbals, and use the rubber-coated plastic cymbals for your ride and hi hat cymbals.
Of the brass e-cymbal models available, Alesis Surge cymbals, and Pearl E-classic cymbals are made by Smartrigger, so all three brands are virtually the same. Hart Dynamics E-cymbals and ASL Revolution cymbals are not made by Smartrigger and are independently made.
Last but not least are Zildjian Gen 16 cymbals. They take a whole new approach to electronic cymbals. Instead of using sensors to pick up the vibrations of your performance and triggering sounds in a standard drum module, they use tiny pickups that feed the cymbal sound into a special Zildjian electronic cymbal module called the Gen16 Digital Cymbal Procesor. Inside the procesor the cymbal sounds are blended with digitally sampled cymbal sounds and effects. The cymbals themselves are made of steel and have hundreds of tiny holes in them, which dampen the ringing and overtones of the steel. Plus, these tiny holes drastically reduce the overall sound of the cymbals so that you don’t hear much sound from the cymbal when you play them without being plugged into the cymbal module and played through an amplifier or sound system. But you cannot plug the Gen16 cymbals into a regular drum module. They have to be used with the Zildjian Gen16 module to get the full benefit of they sound capabilities.
The Gen16 cymbals have a much more realistic feel and rebound than any other e-cymbals, and respond much more like real brass cymbals. And now, as of May 2014, the Gen16 cymbals come in a Buffed Bronze finish giving a righer, more authentic sound, as well as looking much more like regular acoustic cymbals.
The Gen 16 cymbals and their accompanying processor module start at around $450.00 for a silver finished 18” ride, 13” hi hat cymbals, the pickups, and the module-processor. Prices are higher for the Gen16 Buffed Bronze sets. You can buy packages that include more cymbals or buy the individual cymbals and components seperately. Again, you have to use the cymbals with the Zildjian Gen16 Digital Cymbal Procesor and the Direct Source Pickups, for them to work properly. The procesor will accommodate up to five Gen 16 cymbals which come in sizes 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, and 20 inches. It would be easy to invest well over $1000.00 in a set of five Gen 16 cymbals with the Gen16 Direct Source Pickups and the processor. But if your budget can handle it they would be a great addition to your electronic drums.
As for brass or rubber e-cymbals, you can spend a lot of money on them or you could spend very little. Some are quite expensive and yet if you know what you are looking for you can get some great deals on comparable cymbals. For instance, a dual zone Alesis DMPad 12” plastic-rubber cymbal can be purchased for less than $90 (if you can find them) but Hart Dynamics E-cymbal three-cymbal pack can cost over $900.00. The prices of e-cymbals vary drastically so don’t rush into buying some until you do your own research to decide what will work best for you. You might also want to go to a couple music stores to test out the various options available.
When considering three zone ride cymbals, a 15” Roland CY-15R V-Cymbal Ride would run you from $350.00 to $400.00. But a triple zone 15” Yamaha PCY-155 Ride crash-ride cymbal would run you about $150.00. Like I mentioned earlier these Yamaha cymbals give you three zones with the better Yamaha modules but only two zones with most other drum modules. However, if you only need a two-zone cymbal with choke for use with a Roland module these cymbals are a great deal. Yamaha also has a 13” three zone cymbal that you can find for around $125.00. It is the Yamaha PCY-135 cymbal. Even though you can’t get three zones from these Yamaha cymbals unless you use them with a newer Yamaha module, they will give you two zones on most other modules that have two zone capable cymbal inputs.
Another good bargain is Roland’s CY-8 12” dual zone cymbal with choke. You can find it for about $110.00. It can be used as a two-zone ride, crash, or hi hat cymbal. If used as a hi hat cymbal you can simply mount it on a regular cymbal stand and use a hi hat controller pedal to give you the open-closed sounds. If you are using a Yamaha drum module you need to use a Yamaha controller pedal because they are wired specifically for the Yamaha modules. But for all others modules you could use a Roland, Alesis, or another brand of controller pedal.
One big secret to keep in mind about the Roland cymbals is that the inexpensive ones use the same type of sensors that the more expensive ones do. The top of the line Roland cymbals are bigger, heavier, and use more rubber covering over the plastic underneath. This gives you a better feel from the cymbal. But inside the cymbals the sensors are the same type of sensors. So if you are on a tight budget get the Roland CY-8 cymbals for each of your e-cymbal needs and save yourself a lot of money.
Back in the 80s and early 90s there were very few drum modules to choose from and what was available was very limited. Today things are drastically different with numerous choices. You can buy a new one for a wide range of prices from $160.00 to $2,200.00 and everything in between depending on your needs and your budget.
For $160 you can get an Alesis Trigger i/o box that has no sounds of its own but lets you plug your converted drums into your computer to access drum and percussion sounds that you load into the computer your from drum software. For $2,200.00 you can get Roland’s best drum module, TD-30, with lots of bells and whistles and great sounds, many of which you will never use, but some that will help you quite nicely.
An Alesis Trigger i/o connects to your computer either through a USB cable or a MIDI cable. It can work very well with your computer or it can be a nightmare if your computer’s sound card is not up to the task of the lightning quick processing needed to keep up with your drumming. If it can’t keep up you will have frustrating latency. Latency is a noticeable delay in the sound you hear after you play. So unless you are good at working on computers and can upgrade your soundcard yourself if needed I suggest not using an Alesis Trigger i/o. If however, if you are good at working on computers, or have a willing buddy who is, owning and using a Trigger i/o could open the possibilities for the use of lots of great software drum samples and give you limitless sounds to choose from in the future. In a studio environment using an Alesis Trigger i/o between your drums and the studio computer can give the studio engineer more control of the drum sound and mix than ever before. But you and the studio engineer would need to spend some time together in advance of a studio session that you will be playing on to get everything working properly.
So where do you start when you are thinking about buying a drum module?
First you need to consider what you will be using your module for. Will you be using it simply for quiet home practice; for live performances in concerts, clubs, or in church; for project studio use, or for pro studio use?
Next you need to decide what features you want in your module … whether a complex module with all the bells and whistles, or a simple one or that is easy to learn and gives you some good sounds to choose from without being too complicated to learn. Be advised though that all drum modules have a learning curve that you will have to work through until you get comfortable with the one you choose. You don’t simply take your new module out of the box, plug it in, and everything starts working flawlessly. Your drum module is basically another type of computer and you need to learn its operating system to get the results you are looking for. So be ready to do your homework, both before you buy one in order to know what features are available on some of the different modules out there, and also after you buy one while you are learning to use your module with your drums. Also, if you will be using your converted drums in live performances you need to spend a few hours with your sound engineer to get your drums hooked up to the sound system. You will also need to communicate with your sound engineer and listen to his or her advise about what drum sound choices sound good in the room you will be using your drums in and which ones don’t sound so hot. What may sound good to you from your monitor speaker or your in-ear monitors can be totally different than how things sound out in the audience. So include your sound engineer in the equation when you are thinking about using your drums for playing live. Once you get the best sound you are looking for I suggest you leave it alone and don’t change to another drum set in your module during the performance. If you do you drive your sound engineer crazy chasing the mix trying to readjust things on the spot. One drum set in your module may sound great in the room or concert hall and another one may sound too boomy or too piercing in the live environment and your sound tech will be having fits trying to fix it during the performance. Set it and forget it during live performances.
The next thing you need to consider is what your budget is. Can you buy a new one with all the features you’re looking for or do you need to try to buy a good used one at an affordable price? If you are buying a new one shop online for the best prices and good customer service. If you are trying to buy a good quality used one take some precautions to protect yourself from getting stuck with a faulty module if you should find out you just purchased one. For instance, if you are buying one from ebay make sure the seller’s feedback score is 100% or as close to it as possible. Also be sure they have a return policy if you would need to return it. If you are buying from an individual or from a store get a written guarantee about being able to return it for a refund if it isn’t what it is supposed to be.
As far as an all around module you can’t usually go wrong with a Roland module. Even their low-end modules like a TD-3 or a TD4 has lots of the sounds and features that the TD-20 or TD-30 have. Most of their older modules are still very capable and can be tweaked to sound and perform very well if you spend some time experimenting with the settings and sounds. The exception to this is the DDR30, TD-5, and TD-7. They are old technology that you probably would not be happy with. Although a TD-5 or a TD-7 could still be used for a simple home practice situation. Those modules can also be used as trigger to MIDI converters if you are going to access sounds in your computer. You would need some kind of MIDI interface or a MIDI to USB cable to make the connection to your computer.
Be sure your module comes with an owners manual because you will need to use it like a road map to get you where you want to go with your module adjustments and editing of the sounds. If you purchase a used module that doesn’t come with a manual go to the module brand’s website and download one for your model of module. Print it out for easy reference or at least save it in your computer for future reference while you are learning to get around on your module.
If you have to start out with a lesser module than you want to because of being on a tight budget don’t let that stop you from converting your drums. You can always upgrade to a better module later on when you can afford one. And you can probably get a lot of your money back on the old module by selling it on ebay. You don’t have to have everything perfect before you take the plunge into the pool of acoustic-electronic drumming. Go ahead and get your feet wet and ease into the pool if you need to.
The Alesis D4 and DM5 modules from the 90s are still decent modules to use for home practice today. They don't have dual trigger capabilities on the snare or cymbal inputs but they still have some good sounds. And you can still find good used ones at decent prices on ebay. Newer Alesis modules like the DM6, DM7, DM8, and DM10 are good modules to choose from. However, one drawback with the newer Alesis modules is that the cymbal inputs are not as full featured as most of the Roland modules. But they still have lots of great sounds to offer so don't count them out. But if you want to use a three-zone ride cymbal with the newer Alesis modules you will need to use an Alesis 3-zone ride cymbal.
Pearl R.E.D. Box drum module is basically the same thing as the Alesis DM10 but in a red package.
Another trigger-to-MIDI converter box similar to the Alesis Trigger i/o is the Roland TMC-6. It doesn't have USB output like the Trigger i/o but it has MIDI out and six dual inputs to plug your drums into.
If you are using a drum module that has a wiring harness that has all of the drum and cymbal pad cables into one multi-connector plug for connecting to your module you will need our special adapter cables to connect your converted drums into the wiring harness. Be sure to tell us about the need for these adapters for you module. The modules with a combined wiring harness are Roland's TD4, TD9, TD11, and TD15, plus Alesis DM6, DM7, and DM8.
Another module option to consider if you have an iPad 4 or newer is the Alesis DM Dock. It features 13 trigger inputs and a dedicated app for your iPad. The DM Dock has 13 trigger inputs, 12 of which are dual inputs, balanced 1/4" stereo outputs, MIDI input and output connectors as well as USB MIDI port. And you can pick one up for $250.00
A module I don't suggest is the ddrum DD1 drum module. The DD1 is designed to be used with ddrum triggers and pads but it may not work very well with other triggers. The reason is that the DD1 does not allow adjustments for settings like sensitivity and other things that are adjustments necessary for use with most drum triggers. Its okay using with ddrum's triggers but for all other types of triggers you really need a drum module that lets you adjust it precisely for the triggers you choose, the mesh heads you use, and your personal playing style. The DD1 will not do that for you.
Yamaha makes some very good modules with lots of great sounds to choose from. One thing that Yamaha offers with some of their better modules that other brands don't is three zone snare triggering with the use of their three zone snare pad. This gives you head triggering and two different rim triggers, one on the left side and one on the right side of the drum. You need to be aware that when using your converted acoustic drums with one of these Yamaha modules you will only get dual triggering, a head trigger and one rim trigger, instead of two rim triggers. Something else you need to be aware of is that Yamaha modules do not have as many parameter adjustments as Roland modules. You can adjust sensitivity and a few other things in the Yamaha modules but you may not be able to make as many fine adjustments as you would like.
When considering a drum module do a good amount of research and read online reviews by customers to see what other people think about the module you are thinking about. Don’t take just two or three people’s opinions but check out what a lot of people have to say. There are pros and cons to everything but with some research you can lessen the odds of getting something you will not be satisfied with.